(To see where I’ll be in 2017 and for a list of Writing Resources, jump over to lafreeland.com)
An encourager at heart, I believe everyone has a story worth telling. One of my favorite things about being a writing coach is helping others share their messages through fiction and non-fiction in a way that readers enjoy and understand.
I’ve presented at multiple writing workshops—including the North Texas Christian Writers Conference, the Orange County Christian Writers Conference, Romance Writers of America National Conference, and several week-long mentoring tracks at the West Texas Writers’ Academy.
I’m always open to teaching various topics, but below is a list of a few workshops I teach.
One-Hour to One-Day Workshops
Dynamic Dialogue: Make—Don’t Break—Your Scene with Dialogue
Dialogue can be the cornerstone for crafting great scenes. Or the wrecking ball that flattens a story.
Learn to use simple writing tools—punctuation, paragraphing, speaker tags and beats, timing, highlighting what isn’t said, applying the principles of action/reaction, and layering a character’s words with voice cues. And propel verbal interactions between characters into a compelling story that turns cardboard characters into real people. People your readers not only relate to, but people they’ll stick around and get to know.
Demolish Reader Stumbling Blocks Using the Secret of Clarity
Write Tight. Say What You Mean. Be Specific.
Lack of clarity on the page gives an otherwise smooth read a bumpy ride and throws up reader roadblocks. Confusion about what’s happening in a story, unmotivated character actions and reactions, unclear choreography of scene, weak or repetitive writing, and grammar and sentence-structure issues cause readers to stumble.
If we know what to watch for, we can demolish those roadblocks. Learn to use clarity to set the scene, center your characters, and manipulate sentence structure to toss unnecessary words, nix clichés and filter words, use active versus passive voice, and avoid vague words and ideas. Weaving clarity into every scene not only catches readers, but keeps them.
Frame Your Scene, Build Your Story: Use Layering to Paint a Word Picture
Our goal as writers is to put the scenes playing in our heads onto the page in a way that lets our readers experience our ideas the way we do. There’s often a gap between what we imagine and what we actually write down. A little deliberate planning can fill that gap.
Starting with something as simple as an essay-like three-part structure that sets the scene, moves the story, and hooks the reader to turn the page can lay the ground work for your frame. Knowing what you want the scene to accomplish—the information you want to share, character growth, the mood and tone, and the emotions you want to invoke in your characters and in your readers—can be a baseline for filling in that frame. Layering the scene with story-telling elements like setting, dialogue, internal thought, action, voice cues, expressions, and body language becomes the polish at the end.
I’m Interested in a Workshop!
Three to Five Day Tracks.
Master Your Manuscript: Catch and Keep Your Reader Using the Secret of Clarity
A few of us write for ourselves. Most of us write for other people. As storytellers, we want to create a mood. Set a tone. Even mold a new world. But sometimes we’re so caught up in the excitement of sharing the magic in our head we forget a reader can only experience what we’ve actually put on the page.
Writing a compelling story requires mastering the craft. But when do you use those writing rules and when do you ditch them? The backbone behind every rule comes down to a simple secret—clarity. Topics and techniques can be applied to articles, short stories, novellas, memoirs, or novels.
- Frame your scene with mood, setting, and purpose.
- Lock into deep POV using scenes that show, not tell.
- Drive tension into dialogue.
- Find your flow. Make your style work for you.
- Demolish reader stumbling blocks.
- Manipulate sentence structure and toss vague and unnecessary words.
- Battle boredom. Nix clichés, filter words, and overused descriptions.
- Plan and execute your perfect pace.
I’m Interested in a Workshop!
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